Monday, 20 May 2019

Why I Overhauled My Social Media

Why I Overhauled My Social Media
Never before has social media played such a significant role in our lives. For most of us, it's the first thing we look at when we wake up and the last thing we check up on before we go to sleep. It's how we remember our friends birthdays, keep up to date with distant relatives and on the rare occasion, see how many children acquaintances from your high school have birthed. I'm guilty for that myself. 

Of course, there's the flip-side. The millions of creators who now have a platform to share their work, it's an income for some and let's not forget the messages that can spread far and wide faster than you can upload an Instagram story. 

Regardless of which end of the spectrum you find yourself, one thing remains the same. With the amount of time we spend on social media increasing, so my Screen Time tells me, it's only fair that we consume and create content that has a positive effect on our minds. In the interest of making my social media outlets a better place, here's how I gave them an overhaul. 

REMOVING NEGATIVITY

I’ve spoken about this before in some capacity but removing the negativity from my social media was the first step in my process. I removed people and pages I follow based not only negative content, but content that made me feel irritated or uninspired. Of course, I’m not naive. I know that there will always be a news story that bothers me or a photo I’m not fond of but I’m talking about the accounts I was willing to follow though every time I saw a post, I’d think ‘Not this again’. I started with Twitter then Instagram, right through to my personal Facebook and Bloglovin’. Trust me, I feel better for it.

FORMING A STRUCTURE

I’ve never been one to have a structure with my social media, or my blog for that matter. I tried so hard to embrace the ‘Just post what you want’ mentality but I realised that for me, structure is what I need for my mind to work best. I started with Pinterest. I’ve always loved the idea of pinning what I love along with ideas and inspiration but it always felt like it was a bit of a mess drove me crazy whenever I opened the app. After spending what felt like hours taking inspiration from others and planning on paper, I finally knew how I wanted it to look. Dedicated boards, each split into sections. Multiple boards for one topic, some just for inspiration. I also finally wanted to be able to put my own content out there and have it fit within this new structure. 

PLANNING CONTENT

I use the term planning content loosely because, like forming a structure, it’s never been something I’ve taken to. In the world of ItsHollieAnn, planning content means ‘Having a vague idea of what you want to post’. I started with my blog and decided, roughly of course, what kind of order I’d share posts in. I didn’t want to be left with four travel posts, one beauty then two more travel posts and one wedding post. Whilst that would be completely fine, for me, it doesn’t work. I like an even spread. I’ve also started making conscious effort to plan for all posts to be sharable whether it’s on Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by my blog and online presence and it's easy from the outside for others to say it isn't a job so it doesn't need attention but that's for me to decide?
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I’m all too aware that this isn’t brand new information but I wanted to stress that if you’re feeling overwhelmed by social media, whether you're a creator or consumer, you can change it and make it whatever you want to be.
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Monday, 13 May 2019

What We're Planning To Do In San Francisco

What We're Planning To Do In San Francisco
Seven months ago we booked a weekend trip to San Francisco, a city we've always wanted to visit, as a short stop before heading to Las Vegas. Little did we know that in the seven months that followed I'd have two months in Charleston under my belt, we'd be five months into an engagement and getting married in five short weeks on said trip. It's been a whirlwind, I can tell you that. 

Though our minds have been elsewhere with wedding planning, now that our trip is getting closer we're starting to think about what we want to do with the 2.5 short days we have in the city and trust me, people have not been short on their recommendations. I thought I'd put together a list of what's definitely on our agenda so far and welcome any suggestions you might have, just like when I arrived in Charleston

First up, let's talk tourist. Of course we want to see the Golden Gate Bridge - Preferably from a view point but more so from a bike which I'm told you can rent from our hotel or from pretty much anywhere in the city. Lombard Street is a must because, hello, how could you not and I also quite fancy lying on the grass near the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square and taking it all in. 

We've already booked an early bird tour of Alcatraz through Alcatraz Cruises as tickets can sometimes sell out up to five weeks in advance and afterwards we were hoping to catch a baseball game at AT&T park but I don't think the schedule fits in well for us. 

In terms of eats, of course Cheesecake Factory at Macy's has been highly recommended for it's views along with Mamma's for brunch and pretty much anywhere on Fisherman's Wharf for seafood. Also, though a bit of an Instagram cliche, the treats on offer at Mr Holmes Bakehouse are said to be a dream. 

Being a gay couple, Castro comes highly recommended as somewhere to relax as well as somewhere to find great bars and clubs. I'm unsure if we'll make it up to Union Square or Croit Tower with us not having a whole lot of time, but I wouldn't rule them out. 

Other San Francisco musts include riding a cable car up Nob Hill and trying my best to capture the terrain and surrounding views. Ideally I'd like to get a really unique view of the Golden Gate Bridge, maybe from a beach or something, but again it all depends on how much time we have. 

Above all we really just want to explore in the way we like - Not cramming too much in but feeling like we've made a good dent in the city. SF already seems like it could be somewhere we return to but we'll see. 
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Any San Fran recommendations, send them my way. As I mentioned, we already have our Alcatraz tour scheduled along with out hotel but things to do, places to eat, bars, you name it. Send it my way! 
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Monday, 6 May 2019

Wedding Chat: Things Are Coming Together

Wedding Chat Things Are Coming Together
It's just over six weeks until our wedding day and I can't believe I'm saying this but everything is coming together, finally. 

When we first started planning we set big things in stone pretty quickly including our planner and photographer along with our outfits and cake. Luckily that meant that we could relax for a little while before getting down to finer details like choosing our wedding bands, printing our invitations and starting to think about songs for our DJ.

With not long to go, were now at a point where we're organising even finer details - It feels like I'm constantly adding things to my to-do list but I know that in the end, everything will come together just fine.

Since I last updated you my fiancee exchanged her wedding ring and I have my engagement ring back - Finally it fits perfectly. In terms of decor for our venue, we've sourced some wooden logs to go in the center of our tables and ordered a few decorations from Ginger Ray to tie the venue together. We're meeting with the event co-coordinator at our venue in a couple of weeks to go over final details for the night including food and drink choices along with the general timeline of the evening. 

We've taken care of our licence pre-application to make things quicker in Vegas and also arranged some non-wedding bits like our transport to the airport and my fiancee's ESTA and passport. 

I've yet to collect all our RSVPs but with only twelve outstanding, I think that's pretty good going. We still need to take our clothes to be tailored but I'm assured it'll only take a week so I'm leaving it for until almost last minute in a bid to shift a few pounds! Oh, I also forgot to mention that I managed to find THAT Aldo bag after months of searching what felt like the whole internet - I probably won't use it on our wedding day but as for the week leading up to it and potentially our hen party, it's a yes!

Speaking of which, our friends are organising our joint hen party so I'm just waiting to know where to be, when and what I should wear - I'm so happy that it's something that we don't have to worry about, we just need to turn up for a day of drinks and laughter. 

Lastly, I think all we're waiting on is our wedding timeline which our planner has assured me will be with us in just over a week. 
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I think that's about all I have to update you on at the moment though to me, it feels like far more. It's the small things I'm ticking off that are making me the most satisfied - Let me know if it's normal to breathe a sigh of relief to not have to think about straws ha!
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